What does a small child have to do to survive in South Kordofan, Sudan?

Children in Kauda, South Kordofan, Sudan, shelter from a passing Antonov, 2012. Photograph: Peter Moszynski

Hi everyone,

What does a small child have to do to survive in South Kordofan, Sudan?  This photo says it all.  How can we possibly even begin to imagine what it is really like for them to be in this horrific situation?  The accompanying question is, why do we continue to do so little to help them?

An eerie silence suddenly descends upon Kauda’s market as people scan the skies for the source of the distant yet all-too-familiar throb of Soviet-manufactured plane engines.

“Antonov!” the cry goes out, and people scatter, diving into the nearest hole or scrambling for cover wherever they can. After a few minutes the engines fade and people get up, dust themselves off and attempt to get on with what passes for normality for the beleaguered inhabitants of Sudan‘s Nuba mountains.

“Women and children usually constitute the largest number of casualties from these bombing raids,” says Ahmed Kafi, local co-ordinator for one of the few international NGOs that still maintains a presence on the ground. “Most of the men and older children learned long ago to take cover when they hear an Antonov approaching, but the younger ones often run in panic and there is nothing in the world that can prevent a mother from chasing after her children.”

From “World again turns blind eye to people of Sudan’s Nuba mountains,” by Peter Moszynski

Then this morning’s news:  Two Antonovs dropped 28 bombs in the town of Kauda in South Kordofan.  Amazingly, no one was reported as having been killed.  A few days ago in the village of Eieri a family of five was not as lucky.  They were killed.

Here is one little helpful thing you can do.  Ask the UNSC, AU and US to Provide Civilian Protection in Sudan. To sign the petition, click here.

Thank you.

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

50 years after independence, Africa still suffering from colonial wounds

From AlJazeera:

Seventeen African nations gained their independence in 1960, but the dreams of the independence era were short-lived.

Africa states of independence tells the story of some of those countries – stories of mass exploitation, of the ecstasy of independence and of how – with liberation – a new, covert scramble for resources was born.

– Al Jazeera, September 2 2010

Obama in Ghana – Hope for Darfur?

President Obama spoke in Ghana following the G8 summit. While encouraging Africans to take responsibility for their own future, he does acknowledge that the genocide in Darfur is not simply an African problem. He calls for an international system to oppose human rights violations and help those who have suffered. He specifically spoke out against the criminality and cowardice of systematic rape.
“We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and dignity of every woman in the Congo.
Mr. Obama outlined the need for democracy, opportunity, health care, and peaceful conflict resolution. For the entire speech, click here.

“The World’s New Threat: Conflict Fatigue”

The current humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo calls for our attention. However, according to two individuals connected to Enough, there is a major obstacle facing its resolution.

That obstacle?

Conflict fatigue“.

Click here to read the article recently published on the subject – quite interesting.

The world has a lot of work to do…Anyone advocating for an end to the conflict must be content with slow and steady progress and not expect a quick fix…In fact, this is true of most conflicts…Conflict fatigue only takes root when we forget that.

Holding On To Our Humanity

Photograph by Stop Genocide NowThe NY Times featured a fantastic article in today’s paper discussing the human response to mass suffering.

Nowadays, it seems like everywhere you look, horrible things are happening – from Darfur to the Congo to Zimbabwe to even here in the US. Bombarded by report after report of suffering, humans have a tendency to turn away, to grow numb, to become indifferent.

However, perfectly phrased by Elie Wiesel –

Indifference to the suffering of others is what makes the human being inhuman…The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees — not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory…And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.

Yes, it may be easier to turn the channel when a story about Darfur is on TV than to watch millions enduring the unthinkable. But, by doing so, who exactly are you hurting?

Remember the concept of “ubuntu” – the idea that a person is a person through other persons. One does not live in isolation. One is pained when another is pained. One is joyous when another feels joy.

So, make the choice not to turn the channel…make the choice to hold on to your humanity.

To learn more about the report on Darfuri women mentioned by the NY Times columnist, click here.

Toys For Darfur

An inspiring story –

A five-year-old from Pennsylvania saw a news story about children in Darfur. Noticing that none of the children shown had any toys, Riley Hebbard took it upon herself to change that.

Riley’s Toys for Darfur was born – a toy drive aimed at ensuring every kid in Africa has a toy of their own.

“In Darfur, People Still Laugh”

Evil is real and rampant…but in the midst of evil…the human spirit often shines brightest…after the Holocaust, people forgave…in Darfur, people still laugh.

Those words were spoken this week by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Tutu emphasized that a person should be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually – acknowledging that one finds well-being in “human rights, justice, and love”. “Much disease and heartbreak is preventable” when peace prevails.

Tutu also expressed gratitude for aid workers around the world “making whole that which was alienated and hurting”.

The body-mind-spirit interconnectedness is interesting to think about.

Consider those in Darfur who have experienced such great suffering. Along with heavy hearts, they must also deal with countless health concerns such as disease and malnutrition. Emotional pain combined with physical pain can make days almost unbearable. Yet the people of Darfur continue to hold their heads high and continue to hope.

They have not given up – let us do the same.